Whether you’re the traveller gallivanting off to some far flung destination, or the loved one who is sending them off, saying goodbye is hard.
Is it more difficult to be the one staying put, wishing a friend or family member well on their travels? You’re happy for them – they’re going to see the world and probably start living an exciting dream they’ve had for years. That’s the crux of it, I spose. You start thinking of all the amazing sights, smells and tastes they’re going to experience. They’re most probably very different from your home life (and that’s probably half the appeal). You envisage them in a glittery world of all-singing-all-dancing travel spectacularness. That’s totally a word, right? You’ve probably put travel up on a pedestal, forgetting that it’s not without its low moments too.
It’s normal to feel a pang of travel envy. This is especially true if they’re visiting a country or city that’s been on your travel wish list for ages (hello, San Francisco in my case). There’s nothing wrong with feeling a little jealous – you’re a wanderluster, it’s in your blood. It doesn’t take away from the fact that you are outrageously proud of your bestie, sister, whoever, for taking the step and seeing the world, or at least their chosen part of it.
You’re probably also a litter glum because you’re not going to see them for a while. Maybe, even a really long time if they’ve bought a one way ticket. It will be hard adjusting to a new life without them, well their physical presence at least. Who will be your co-shopper, your drinking partner, or the fellow fruit loop you can call in the middle of the night to help put the world to right? How will you ever be able to say goodbye?
A good friend of mine recently left the UK for a new life in Australia. This recent travel goodbye made me consider the other side of these musings (and not just the other side of the world).
Seeing sad faces as you pack up your belongings really isn’t good. Especially for you, as you’re departure is the reason that person is upset. You question your motives and intentions. What if you’ve caused this much upset and you’re trip isn’t as great as you hoped, so much so that you cut it short? What if you’re making a mistake and you should stay with your family and friends? As with any big decision, you’re likely to have a few wobbles. However, you’re never going to know unless you go. You have to live your life and learn for yourself. Plus, I’ve never known anyone to regret their travels.
Every time I’m about to go abroad, I’m constantly warned about bombings, murders, and crazy weather straight out of The Day After Tomorrow. Some people can be so set in their ways and comfortable in ‘safe’ England, that they warn of these dangers, whilst BBC News is blaring in the background telling of yet another murder in England. These people have probably also never travelled, or at least not for years and years. Does it make it any easier for you to say goodbye? Perhaps initially – someone nagging you isn’t exactly fun, but if it’s a family member or a friend, you probably know it’s their way of saying ‘I love you, be safe. Goodbye’. Obviously, with a lot of poetic filler sandwiched in-between.
It’s the poetic stuff that can help, and I think in some cases, a goodbye is actually really useful. It gives people a reason to tell you how much they care about you, how proud they are, and basically pour a tonne of love on you. It’s a pretty nice feeling. Of course, you have the chance to reciprocate by sharing your feelings, which can be rewarding too.
As the person jetting off on your travels and receiving the goodbyes, it obviously has its upsides. Yes, it’s sad leaving loved ones behind, but you’re going to be experiencing a whole new lifestyle in another country; new people, cultures and places. It’s a chance to broaden your mind, and develop. I guess it’s a little self indulgent, but also looking at the bigger picture, it’s an exciting opportunity to add to your family and friends; sharing your experiences with them when/if you return, and bringing new faces into your circle.
Is it Goodbye?
2014 is perhaps an easier year than 1914 to say goodbye. We live in a world of technology, where we can speak to someone on the other side of the world for free, or little cost. Thank you Viber. We can even see the other person if we want to. Thank you Skype. We’re greedy; we can also live like they used to and send romantic postcards. Thanks to great travel job opportunities, and a choice of modes of transport and operators, we even have the freedom to visit our traveller abroad (or visit home). So, is it really goodbye? Is it easier to say goodbye than it used to be?
I prefer to be the traveller receiving the goodbyes. What about you? What are you experiences of saying and receiving goodbye before travel? X
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